prosecutions over breaches of the 1994 Waste Management Licensing
dismissal by magistrates of a prosecution over the deposit of waste on land
at Hartlepool which is ear-marked for use as a football pitch and car park.
The land-owners also hire out skips for domestic and business purposes and
dispose of the contents of those skips. It was alleged that waste they
deposited on the site contained biodegradable material which did not
correspond with exemptions provided for in accordance with the company's
entry in the Public Register of Exempt Activities under p13 of Sch 3 to the
1994 Regulations and was not an exempt activity within p19 of Sch 3.
However, when the company was prosecuted for knowingly causing controlled
waste to be deposited on the site the magistrates dismissed the case on the
basis that the amount of waste involved in the charges was only a tiny
fraction compared with the total tonnage of acceptable material deposited on the site.
They took the view that in their totality the amounts involved were within a 5% working tolerance which the company had been led to believe was
acceptable and fell to be exempt under the regulations.
Now though the court has ruled that the magistrates were wrong. Mr justice
Newman in allowing the Environment Agency's appeal said that where charges
were laid in connection with specific deposits said to have taken place - as in this case - each and every deposit fell under scrutiny.
This meant that the volumetric proportion between the deposit which was the
subject of charges and the eventual mounds of material to which the deposit
was added was completely irrelevant.
It would not, for example, be right to regard a skip containing nothing
other than biodegradable material as exempt simply because the contents of
that skip was going to be deposited upon a large volume of inert material
which contained no other biodegradable material.
STRAND NEWS SERVICE